Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is in Michigan visiting a specialist after suffering what is believed to be a neck injury during a game in Russia Dec. 26. The team has confirmed the news, which was first reported by Russian Machine Never Breaks,
While playing with Dynamo Moscow of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout, Backstrom took a check from behind and fell head-first into the boards. He took one more shift before leaving the game.
Backstrom's health is certainly a cause for concern for Washington, especially during a lockout-shortened season. Last season, Backstrom missed 40 games -- to put that into perspective, the truncated season will only be 48 -- with a concussion after being elbowed in the head by then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque.
Tuesday, General Manager George McPhee said that he could not discuss the health of Backstrom until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified, which should be by this weekend. Yet, Alex Ovechkin, who played on Dynamo with Backstrom, said Tuesday that Backstrom experienced dizziness after sustaining the injury.
Forward Troy Brouwer provided another update Wednesday.
“He’s a little disappointed at the timing of it right now,” Brouwer said. “Because we’ve waited so long to play, he wants to come back and he wants to start with us. He wants to be in camp, he wants to be around the guys and I think that’s what kills him the most. He kind of feels like he’s letting his teammates down, but we know how finicky injuries can be and we know that he wants to be here, and that’s enough.
"When he gets healthy, we want him back as soon as possible, but a healthy -- fully healthy -- Nicky Backstrom.”
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